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The global events that caused the mass shift to work-from-home operations could have ended badly for brands worldwide. However, it was proof of how resilient and flexible they can be as they implemented a new reality of work in real-time and responded to rapidly-evolving customer service expectations. Leading the charge for that brilliant response were Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) solutions designed with empathy and openness in mind for customers and contact centre agents alike. When clients respond positively to brands that use principled CCaaS solutions, leaders emerge and grow.
Before COVID-19, the digitalisation of customer service risked neutralising the emotional potential of brands. The past few years have shown a need for solutions that allow these brands and companies to reconnect with the fundamental compassion, empathy and expertise needed to differentiate, perform and grow. These are the values that should drive the creation of leading contact centre solutions.
Whether optimising your operations for customer experience (CX) or agent experience (AX), the recognition that human individuals who work for you and buy from you should be front and centre. Artificial intelligence (AI) helps with this in two ways. First, it reduces agent fatigue by eliminating the need for them to deal with customers’ repetitive and simple queries. AI-based speech recognition can be trained to handle them so that agents can spend time using their own empathy-imbued soft skills to help manage customers’ specific issues. Agents can then focus on other value-added topics across channels, whether it’s voice, chat, or video.
Second, AI assists in guiding the customer through their issues thanks to dashboard software that provides contextual data and fully equips agents with all the necessary and relevant information. As there’s no need to ask repetitive questions that the customer may have answered in prior conversations, they feel that their problems are heard, known and seen on a one-to-one level. That’s how relationships are built, and how brands can grow — by treating humans as humans.
Any contact centre solution provider worth its salt empathises with the anxiety that contact centre directors feel when it comes to transitioning away from legacy systems. Uncertainties and worries come with a complete overhaul of business operations. That’s why a good CCaaS provider furnishes their clients with end-to-end support, from implementation and setup to consulting from an experienced team that knows their market, their issues and their customer base.
On the occasion that a contact centre invests in a brand new solution, it is absolutely unthinkable to sell it as a product and have it end there. When we talk about CCaaS — Contact Centre as a Service — the commitment to serve the buyer is built into the name. As such, more is expected of solutions providers to build a deep relationship with the brands that rely on them to provide their customers the best experience, and thus contribute to their growth. When providers engage with their clients, those brands expand their own commitments to providing high-quality customer interactions. They honour the work of their agents, leading to vastly improved CX and AX.
Of course, new solutions should not only maintain, but enhance the functionalities of the previous ones. A CCaaS solution is, while key, just one piece of the customer experience puzzle. It must be able to openly integrate with other leading business technology, which is why it’s important to provide connectors to AI-based platforms like Google CCAI and IBM Watson, workforce optimisation (WFO) tools such as Verint, Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) platforms like Microsoft Teams, and customer relationship management (CRM) software like Salesforce and Pegasystems.
When a CCaaS solution may not be able to do it all, then providing its clients the smooth integration to the tools they use is of the utmost importance. A solution does not exist in a vacuum; it needs open connectivity to the rest of the technological tools that make business go, to be able to keep its commitments to the very individuals that use, serve and are served by them.
All through our relationships with clients, resellers and technological partners, we have found that these values build and perpetuate growth that’s good for a brand’s customers, our clients, our industry colleagues and ourselves as well. Recognised CCaaS leaders keep these three values in mind when they design solutions. That’s why Frost & Sullivan positioned Odigo in 1st place for growth and also as one of the top European providers for innovation in the Frost Radar™: European CCaaS Market, 2021.
It’s obvious when someone has great communication or soft skills. Conversation flows, difficult subjects are made easier and customers feel heard and valued, like their needs have been taken into account. It’s almost effortless for the person on the receiving end but the same is not always true for agents delivering this level of care and attention. How can contact centres support agents as they engage with these invaluable soft skills?
2022 research commissioned by Odigo sees overwhelming support for the claim that AI investments improve the customer experience. The vast majority of respondents also stress that AI is a long-term investment and takes time to properly integrate and deliver maximum ROI.
Customer service contact spikes are all too common in the utilities sector. Seasonal pressures, adverse weather conditions, infrastructure upgrades and now more than ever concern over rising costs drive customers to seek clarity and support. How can utilities companies cope with such predictable unpredictability?